Mammoth’s glistening cross-country trails offer a road less traveled

Lesson and rental packages run less than $100 at the ski center.
(Chris Erskine / Los Angeles Times)

When gale-force winds threaten to blast you off Mammoth Mountain, consider the more-peaceful and protected alternative of cross-country skiing, where 20 miles of trails and breathtaking vistas await at Tamarack Lodge.

Think Twin Peaks without so many crazies.

The Tamarack Cross-County Ski Center, about 10 minutes from the village, offers lessons and rentals from its little igloo hut, half-buried by snow.

A portion of the trails available in Tamarack.
(Mammoth Mountain)

In one of the best ski seasons ever, a steady diet of January and February storms has glistened what is known as the lakes basin, a five-hour drive from Los Angeles. This is also the jumping-off point for snowshoe trails, groomed and ungroomed.

Rental info and trail tips:

  • A package of a group lesson, trail pass and ski rental costs under $100.
  • “Two-fer Tuesdays” offer two full-day adult trail passes for the price of one.
  • Groomed trails are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Skiers should yield to others when entering trails
  • Skiers and snowshoers are urged to carry a compass, food and water, and a map.
  • Skiers coming downhill always have the right of way.
  • Always stay to the right on oncoming skiers.
  • The Orange Line shuttle bus departs the village every 30 minutes starting at 8:30 a.m.

Info: The ski center is located at 163 Twin Lakes Road, Mammoth Lakes; (760) 934-2442, Ext. 8. For a daily trail report, use Ext. 7.